An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors)

Status

In committee (Senate), as of May 25, 2021

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide that the prohibition against the disclosure of information relating to jury proceedings does not, in certain circumstances, apply in respect of disclosure by jurors to health care professionals.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

April 27th, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you.

I would concur that the amount of funding we're talking about here with respect to juror pay and with respect to implementing other recommendations that would go a long way to support jurors is a pittance, having regard to the firehose of money that we have seen showered in this budget. Some of it very much needed funding; I don't want to minimize that reality. This, though, would be a mere pittance.

Another area that you cited is mental health and issues around mental health that jurors face in going through, in some cases, horrific trials, including stressors from not being familiar with the judicial system and being away from family and work, among many other factors.

One recommendation in the report from 2018 was to carve out an exception to the jury secrecy rule. Right now, jurors who are suffering from mental health issues arising from their jury service aren't able to talk about all aspects of their jury service, namely the deliberation process, which often can be the most stressful aspect.

I introduced a bill in the last Parliament to implement the recommendation to carve out a narrow exception to the jury secrecy rule so that jurors who are suffering from mental health issues could consult a mental health or other medical professional bound by confidentiality, thereby protecting the integrity of the jury secrecy rule while ensuring that jurors can get the help they need. There was again unanimous support for that bill, but it died in the Senate prior to the last election. I worked with Senator Boisvenu to introduce a bill in the Senate, but it's been stuck there.

The government has introduced Bill C-23, which touches on issues around jurors in a COVID context. Would you see it as beneficial that Bill C-23 be expanded to include the substance of what is in now Bill S-212 so that we can get this done, finally, which is something everyone seems to agree to?